Willie Nelson’s guitar ‘Trigger,’ almost as legendary as the man himself

State & Regional

Trigger Willie Nelson’s guitar. (Paul Familetti)(https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trigger-Willie_Nelson.jpg)

Willie Nelson has been playing the same guitar, named Trigger, since 1969. He’s even worn a giant hole in it. He named Trigger after Roy Rogers’ horse.  

“I figured,” Nelson said in Dallas Monthly, “this is my horse.”

Trigger has been Willie’s partner throughout most of his career. Willie bought the Martin N-20 in 1969.  Trigger has been a big part of Nelson’s unmistakable sound ever since.

Trigger rarely leaves Nelson’s hands (he only trusts it with tech Tom Hawkins, who was injured in a recent band bus crash).

According to Michael Hall, Nelson once punched a drunk Jerry Jeff Walker, who was fooling around with the guitar against his wishes.

When Nelson’s Tennessee home burned many years ago, Nelson was only able to save one possession — Trigger. He hid the guitar from the IRS in the early 1990’s when he was having problems and worried agents would repossess it and auction it off to pay his debts.

Mark Erlewine reconditions Trigger twice a year. When asked about the hole, Erlewine notes, “I always thought it enhanced the sound.”

Over the years, Nelson has collected signatures on the guitar from numerous artists like Leon Russell, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and others. The last signatures on Trigger was in 2013, when Nelson asked Jack White and Jamey Johnson to sign the guitar.

It truly is an honor when Willie asks someone to sign Trigger!

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